Over the past two years, Sydney act Brother Brad have been simmering away, slowly but surely concocting the tracks that, when pieced together, make up their debut EP, Get Around. Celebrating the release of the EP, the now six-piece band played to a full Lansdowne crowd, in front of friends, family and a loyal local fan base.
Acting as main support of the night were The Big Ilch, a seven-piece conglomerate busting some of the best reggae, blues and roots music you’re likely to hear in 2018. Reminiscent of an early Blue King Brown, mixed with Kim Churchill and The Beautiful Girls, the Bondi locals put on a tight and flawless set, with the bulk of their tracks coming from their 2017 release Homeground. In another lifetime, The Big Ilch may have been one of the biggest acts going around, but for now, they seemed stoked to be playing the renowned Lansdowne stage.
Entering the stage near enough to 10pm, Brother Brad opened proceedings with non EP track “Be A Man”. With an almost Fat Freddy’s Drop vibe to it, the night was already in full swing, as they moved into “Digital Revolution”; a take on the general populace’s need to be ever connected to a device and how it could be (definitely is) affecting the modern relationship. With a cheeky keyboard solo mid track, it almost had a Zach Gill (of Jack Johnson’s band) feel to it.
With the recent addition of a saxophone now a mad game changer for the band, the dynamics of Brother Brad may have changed, but the magic occurring on stage was all too real. Crushing the opening track of the EP, in “Gotta Be”, the opening lines rapped by guitarist Shaun Bradley made the song one of the more groove driven tracks of the set.
With front man Justin Bradley taking the time to explain the basis of “I Gave You My All”, the relate-ability of the track made it one of the more solemn moments of what was more or less a party set. With the vibe of the night stalled momentarily, the glorious “Chosen Way” put the night back on course as the community feel of the song had everyone in a more joyful mood.
With the crowd becoming quite rowdy, especially down the front, it was the job of EP titular track “Get Around” to get the night back to its party feel. Following it up with the seven minute “Yesterday”, the track had a little bit of everything for everyone in the crowd: a little soul, a little dance hall and heaps of breakdowns.
With the instantly recognisable “Master Blaster” from Stevie Wonder earning a spot in the closing moments of the main set, it became clear the band were well rounded in their listening habits, as the funk and bass of the track set up closing track “My Girl”. With a Cities era The Cat Empire influence to the track, it’s the break up song every band needs, and more the justified its spot in the set.
Re-entering for the now obligatory encore, one punter nearby kept telling me they’d close on the Johnny Cash classic “Shout”. While it didn’t eventuate, the song that took its place definitely did it justice. Fan favourite (and band favourite) “Doggy Style” closed the night out. With each band member given the chance to flex their musical muscle, the track allowed the night to end on a high and entirely canine friendly note.
For a band comprised of locals to fill out a venue like The Lansdowne on the back of just one EP, Brother Brad should be proud of what they put out on stage. While popular music tastes may have changed over the decades, the emergence of good music and bands haven’t. Brother Brad fit right in that last category.
The reviewer attended this show on May 31st.